Politics, Moderate



Always-calm Trump lied about coronavirus but patriotically made sure no Americans died of panic

By Rex Huppke, Tribune Content Agency on

I can tell you this: If there’s one thing President Donald Trump does not want to do, it’s create a panic.

Tweet from Trump, Sept. 10, 2020: “If I don’t win, America’s Suburbs will be OVERRUN with Low Income Projects, Anarchists, Agitators, Looters and, of course, ‘Friendly Protesters’.”

Many Americans are outraged over revelations that Trump told journalist Bob Woodward in February that he knew the coronavirus was “more deadly than even your strenuous flus” while he was publicly saying the virus might be less deadly than the flu.

Trump also acknowledged to Woodward in March, according to the recorded interview: “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

Precisely. This president loathes anything that might create panic.

Tweet from Trump, Sept. 8, 2020: “If Biden gets in, this violence is ‘coming to the Suburbs’, and FAST. You could say goodbye to your American Dream!”

His years in office have demonstrated nothing if not a dedication to maintaining calm.

Tweet from Trump, Aug. 8, 2020: “Sleepy Joe Biden just agreed with the Radical Left Democrats to raise Taxes by Three Trillion Dollars. Everyone will pay - Will kill your Stocks, 401k’s, and the ECONOMY. BIG CRASH! #MAGA”

On Wednesday night, President Trump discussed the need to save Americans from a plague of coronavirus panic with Fox News host Sean Hannity: “I’m the leader of the country. I can’t be jumping up and down and scaring people. I don’t want to scare people.”

Tweet from Trump, July 15, 2020: “Joe Biden and the Radical Left want to Abolish Police, Abolish ICE, Abolish Bail, Abolish Suburbs, Abolish the 2nd Amendment – and Abolish the American Way of Life. No one will be SAFE in Joe Biden’s America!”

So, you see, while nearly 200,000 Americans have died from a virus that President Trump knew was deadly while he was still planning rallies and calling it something that would just go away, and while he admittedly downplayed the seriousness of the virus, he succeeded at not scaring people. Do you know how many Americans die each year from being scared? Probably millions.

So the truth is, President Trump saved millions of Americans who otherwise would have died from being frightened.

Our president would never frighten anybody.

Tweet from Trump, Jan. 21, 2019: “Four people in Nevada viciously robbed and killed by an illegal immigrant who should not have been in our Country. 26 people killed on the Border in a drug and gang related fight. Two large Caravans from Honduras broke into Mexico and are headed our way. We need a powerful Wall!”

It’s just not in his nature.

Tweet from Trump, Oct. 22, 2018: “Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy. Must change laws!”


As President Trump said Tuesday night regarding the revelations from the Woodward interviews: “I don’t want people to be frightened.”

Trump talking to Hannity on June 25, 2020, about Joe Biden: “He is a candidate that will destroy this country. And he may not do it himself. He will be run by a radical fringe group of lunatics that will destroy our country, and people have to know that.”

The president continued: “I don’t want to create panic.”

Trump speaking at Mount Rushmore on July 3, 2020: “As we meet here tonight, there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for, struggled, they bled to secure. Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.”

And then he said: “I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy.”

Tweet from Trump, Jan. 2, 2018: “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

I can think of no instance where this president hasn’t done all he can to bring Americans together and keep them calm and free from fear.

So surely he’s telling the truth about why he downplayed the coronavirus. And surely there’s nothing he could have done to save American lives by speaking frankly and honestly about COVID-19.

Trump speaking on March 13, 2020: “I don’t take responsibility at all.”

I know this pandemic has had his full and complete attention.

Trump speaking on Sept. 10, 2020: “I watched Lou Dobbs last night, Sean Hannity last night, Tucker last night, Laura. I watched Fox & Friends in the morning.”

And I’m sure the American people, with the exception of the nearly 200,000 citizens who died from a virus the president chose to downplay, agree.


Rex Huppke is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune and a noted hypocrisy enthusiast. You can email him at rhuppke@tribune.com or follow him on Twitter at @RexHuppke.)




Dave Granlund A.F. Branco Mike Lester Taylor Jones Gary McCoy Joel Pett